Sunday, 27 April 2014

Zips, zips everywhere!

Hello Everyone how are you all doing today?  I hope that your Sunday as been a really enjoyable one and that you are all managing a smile on your face.  It started off lovely and sunny here and went quite warm in fact.  I have been busy marking psychology papers which never seem to end but they have to done.  Last night I did manage to rummage through my cupboards to look for some more lining fabrics and washed them this morning - however we have just had a torrential downpour and I just managed to get them all inside in time before they were completely drenched.
Now I have a deal with myself when I am working at home - I decide on what needs to be done and if, only if, I complete all that, then I can do something enjoyable for me - sewing, knitting, crochet or anything which takes my fancy like eating chocolate!  I worked hard last night and got to a stage where the words on the psychology essays were all starting to run into one so I decided to have a break.  I wanted to make a start on the second giveaway. 
Now my lovely hubby who is bemused by all this blogging and making asked me why did I spend all that time working on the lining when no one will see it - why not put the lining on the outside for a change?  Well I had a think about it and decided to give it a go and then ask you lovely Folks what you thought - remember you are the experts.
I found these two little cuties in the very back of the drawer so have rescued them out of there - do you like them?  I love them, just wish I knew where they had come from and who had worked on them.  If only fabric could talk.
So last night I set to and started to prettify the tray cloth which I had decided to use in the lining of the next giveaway bag.  I just added a couple of flowers and hearts, plus pretty buttons.  The applique fabric is of course the main Marks and Spencer tea towels which I am using (it is their newest range and only just out in the shops).  It was difficult to cut the tray cloth as it wasn't straight and I wanted to preserve the embroidered part as much as I could.  I particularly love the little red flowers.
This is the other side which I varied a little slightly. 
Now lovely Folks I decided to push on and make up the bag with the lining on the outside and the main fabric on the inside.  Everything was going well, or so I thought until I pulled it all through.  Disaster!  The zip was just not right and I was so cross with myself.  I cannot understand where I am going wrong.  I watch Youtube clips all the time to try out new ways of doing this and each time I get myself into a bit of a mess.  I have hidden the awful mess from you on the photograph below - I don't want all of you ending up in Accident and Emergency (Trauma Unit) from looking at it. I said to one of my bloggers that things which I make always look better on the screen than on it and this is the case here. 
In the photograph below I have started to unpick but then lost the will to carry on with it so have stitched it back up again.  It does close and I can use it myself but it is so frustrating after all that hard work.  I really have to try and get to grips with this puzzle, I am obviously doing something wrong somewhere and I will not be happy until I have solved the mystery so it is back to the Youtube clips Folks.
Last week after reading the Lovely Lucy Attic 24's blog I was really taken with a gorgeous bag she had made in chunky yarn.  I have always wanted to make a crochet bag so decided to have a go.  Lucy calls it the Jolly Chunky Bag which uses eight shades of Stylecraft Special Chunky from the Wool Warehouse.  I am so pleased with the colours and started it late last night whilst catching up with a series I have been watching on BBC 2 called the Allotment Challenge on my iPlayer.  I am not a gardener but am hooked.  Last week they had to make the most beautiful flower wreath to go on a door and I was reminded of the lovely ones Lucy makes.   Sorry, I digress.  Well the base of the bag fairly fell together and I couldn't believe it when I realised that I had finished it.  Do pop over to Lucy and see the post on the bag, it is lovely, especially the way she finishes it at the end with flowers - gorgeous!
I do love all the colours - they are quite summery.
You can see the lovely texture of the yarn in the photograph below, I adore the colour.
Now my lovely Friends I need your help here - for the giveaways should I put the vintage linings on the outside of the bags or the inside or, shall I do just one of each which I think would be a better idea.  Any ideas, hints, tips would be welcome.  I do love to hear from you all so please pop in when you have time.  Have a wonderful evening/day depending where you are in our world and we shall speak soon.  Be brave, safe and happy, but more especially be you.  Sending you all huge hugs and loves.  Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Do you like the first giveaway?

Good morning Everyone, I hope you are fine and well.  I had big plans today to go to a vintage fair but sadly have had to put them on to the back burner as more psychology papers have come in for marking so it is back on the treadmill of life again!  However, I cannot moan as it keeps me busy, although I would rather be doing other things!  I got up very early this morning as I wanted to get going on the giveaway which I started yesterday morning.  I have finished it but, as always, much as I strive to perfect zips I am still not happy with it, however, I do hope the winner can live with this.  A lot of lovely Readers have suggested little sewing bags so I have gone with my usual style and will put some bits and bobs into the two prizes.  For those of you who have not commented yet perhaps you could say which types of sewing/knitting/crochet bits you think should  go into the bags.  Everyone who comments will have a chance of winning one, hope you can all take part and I only wish I could send you all a gift.
Well here is sewing/crochet/knitting bag number one and I hope you like it.  I tend to go OTT on the little finishing touches but hope you like them.  I am also hoping to add a little brooch to the front of it but haven't thought through the design of it yet.  There is more detail inside this one than outside as I thought the fabric was busy enough.
As you can see from the photograph below, the zip is ok but not lying completely flat so I am going wrong somewhere in my sewing up.  I cut off all the excess fabric to the bone and try to minimise the bulk but for some reason it doesn't come out to my liking.
I managed to use the whole of the crinoline lady tray cloth except for the bottom of the bag and added some of the outer fabric here.  I couldn't resist putting in some applique hearts and buttons to try to link in the main fabric to the lining.
This is the other side of the bag.  I need to buy a tiny iron so that I can get inside the bag to press it.  I find my usual iron is too big.  I line the inner section of the bag with stabiliser but this tends to crinkle up when I am putting it all together.  Any hints or suggestions on how to keep it wrinkle free glad accepted lovely Folks.
You can see more of the bottom of the bag in the picture below.
Well my Lovelies, short and sweet this morning but I had to plod on now with the marking in time for Monday.  I hope you have a wonderful day and keep happy and smiling.  I will cut out the second bag tonight if I have time as I am keen to get them finished and ready for the first birthday celebrations.  Do make a comment if you have time and wish to be entered for the competition as I always love to hear from every one of you.  Speak to you soon, sending you all my loves and hugs as always.  Dorothy:-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 25 April 2014

Planning for the giveaway

Good morning Lovely Folks out there, how is life treating you all?  I hope that you are well, happy and safe.  Do come in and make yourself at home while I pop the kettle on for a drink.  I had a busy day yesterday and was away for most of it attending a conference but managed to stop off for a coffee and an icecream - yes an icecream (maybe summer is on it's way!) in one of my favourite places.  I am also getting a few ideas together for my giveaway in May to celebrate my first blog birthday - I find it hard to  believe that that a whole year has passed so quickly.  I just wanted to share a few photographs with you today before I set out to work again.
On my way home yesterday I managed to have a quick detour and spent about an hour in Ironbridge, if you remember we take the Little Peeps to Blists Hill the Victorian Town which is not far from here.  I love this part of Shropshire and it is one of my most favourite counties.  This is the wonderful view of the town taken from the famous Thomas Telford bridge which is just magnificent.  I took a couple more photographs but am not sure what happened as they are just not good enough to show you - what a disappointment, sorry!  As you can see from this photograph the sun is shining and it was really warm.  There are lots of lovely tea shops, many selling gorgeous calorie laden cakes but I was very good Folks, honestly but I was tempted.
This picture is still from the bridge but is of the river itself, it was so peaceful and pretty and I wished I could have stayed for longer.
Now then Folks, down to business.  I have had some ideas from you lovely Readers about giveaways and I have managed to buy some more lovely tea towels.  They are from a famous chain store which I frequent quite a lot and were new in this week.  I particularly loved the design which is very 1950s and hope you do too.  However, I wanted to keep to the upcycling and vintage feel so there will be a twist to them.  Please don't worry as you won't be getting any pinnies!
I have delved into my vintage stash and pulled out some possible pieces which I will work into the giveaways.  I am not sure about the finished design yet but that is the thrill for me as I like to work on the edge..........I am a great lover of the crinoline lady designs and am a sucker for these when I see them in the fairs I go to.  Some pieces are very expensive so I do have to watch my spending, however, over the years I have managed to buy some lovely little examples.  I have come to the stage now where it is important to start using these vintage fabrics rather than just storing them as it is all about enjoying them.  Well I think so anyway and hope you all do too.  The one below is a little sweetie.
This is a nice little piece and I was drawn to the colours in this one.  As you have probably guessed my favourite colour is red and I have to watch myself as I tend to go for this or pink all the time.
Now the next few photographs are of the main fabric and I do hope you like it.  I can remember dresses that my Mum wore in the 1950s using designs like this - oh how I would love to get my hands on them now!
The bits of fabric left over will be really good for fussy cutting and these pieces can then go onto other projects.
Looking at this I think you could actually put this into a frame and it would look super in the right place.
I adore this edging below, it is such fun.  When I bought these the ladies at the counter said that they hadn't even seen them in the shop and when I told them what I was going to do with them they asked me to bring them back when they were finished so they could have a look at them.
Well lovely Friends that is it for today as I have to get off to work now.  I hope you like the fabrics I have chosen so far - the vintage ones may be different as I am still looking at what I have.  I have two vintage fairs to go to this weekend which is very naughty but I have ideas in my head so am on a mission.  Do let's know what you think of them all and any other ideas would be warmly welcomed.  Anyone who puts in an idea will be put forward for the competition.  I do hope you all have a wonderful day/night wherever you are.  Remember to think about all the lovely things in life and smile - someone will always smile back at you.  I am sending you all my loves and hugs to each and every one of you.  Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Port Sunlight

Hello all you Lovelies how are you all doing?  It has been very cold and rainy here all day which was such a disappointment as I had a day out - where has the sun gone?  I hope it is sunny for all of you though.  I had previously thought about going into Shropshire but it was absolutely pouring with rain this morning when I set off so I decided to go somewhere closer to hand. 

Some of your may have heard about a place called Port Sunlight which is a model village outside Bebington in Birkenhead.  It is a lovely village which I absolutely love and a few years ago was lucky enough to write up a research study based on the school which is still there.  I was given access to the old school magazines and records of the early 1900s and it all made such interesting reading.  The person who made Port Sunlight possible was a man called William Hesketh Lever who was born on 19 September 1851.  In 1874, he married Elizabeth Hulme and they have a number of children. In 1885, William and his brother enter the soap business by buying a small soap and cleaning product works in Warrington. Lever Brothers was born.

They partner up with William Hough Watson, a chemist from their home town. His newly invented soap uses a colonial raw product, palm oil, and glycerine rather than tallow. It’s a free-lathering soap first named ‘Honey’ and then ‘Sunlight Soap’. It was hugely successful and was on sale in 134 countries. By 1888, they’re producing 450 tonnes and five years after moving into the village of Thornton Hough, William buys the manor there and from there the village was born.

William needed larger business premises and purchased 56 acres of land in Cheshire. He builds on marshes and creates Port Sunlight. The model village was developed between 1888 and 1914 with up to 30 architects commissioned to create a complete ‘garden’ village in a very 'English' style.   In fact two of the cottages are built as exact reproductions of the farmhouse of William Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway. At a time when people lived in overcrowded slums William was building beautiful cottages with exposed timbers and leaded windows for all his workers.   They all had their own running water and indoor bathrooms (practically unheard of then for workers).  He built schools to educate 500 children and for women and girls, special classes are offered in cooking, dressmaking and shorthand. By 1909, there are 700 cottages, a concert hall and theatre, a library, a gymnasium and an open air swimming pool. Rents are one fifth of the weekly wage.

William was kind to his workers but expected them to observe strict ethical codes and anyone breaking them could lose their jobs and their house as they were both tied together.  He also insisted in everyone taking part in the social activities of the village.  He died when he was 74 years of ago but the village lives on and has stayed true to it's heritage.  If you are around Liverpool anytime do try and visit, the train stops at Port Sunlight.

The picture below shows the villagers welcoming a Royal visit.
Girls had their own club (how cute!) - I love the building below and would have really enjoyed the dressmaking classes! 
This is the view from inside the club which is now the museum and a teashop. 

The village is quite large and I did a tour of it many years ago but need to have another one to update my knowledge of the houses.  I would love to live there as I know that it is still a very vibrant community with lots of creative stuff going on. 
All the houses have different designs and I cannot make up my mind which one I like best. 
I loved the little upstairs windows on this row of houses.  Some people had obviously lit their fires this morning and the smell of wood burning was gorgeous - it was so cold there today. 
The photograph below reminds me a little of the houses in Bath. 
Below is an old sign from the company for sunlight soap - we always had this at home - it was usually dark pink/red.  Did you remember it? 
I think my little Peeps would love this house below - very Disney Princess! 
 I particularly liked the front door, although I don't think they would have had grab rails or the alarm when it was built!
I love the fountain.
 They also have their own art gallery which was just beautiful with so many gorgeous paintings and works of art.  Today they had a Turner presentation.
I have just included a few views as there was so much to see. 
I wonder what she is working on in this painting?
Paintings everywhere, you would need a good few hours to see them all. 
 Here is the soap with two well made aprons!
 These are the original ovens which I think have been taken from the houses and put into the tea room, I can remember my Grandma having one of these when I was a child.
Well my lovely Friends that was my day out - it stayed very cold and rainy so home I came to finish my apron.  I have decided to put my lovely daughter-in-law's name on it and hope that she will like it.  She really is such a fabulous cook and baker, her cakes are just to die for I promise.   
I thought she deserved the title Masterchef because she is one to me and our family.  I hope she likes it. 
Well dear Friends I do hope you have a great day/evening tomorrow and enjoy yourselves.  I will be back soon with hopefully some more makes and ideas.  Keep safe and happy.  Big hugs to you all, Dorothy:-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 21 April 2014

A bit of a disaster - back to the drawing board!

Hello Lovely Friends so come in and have a seat.  Would you like a drink or a cake?  It is wonderful to see you all again.  Today has been a bit of a disaster to say the least.  I got up very early this morning to finish it.  However, I quickly found that things went from bad to worse.  As usual I had not planned this apron but just went on my merry way.  The problem was that I wanted to change the design slightly but didn't factor this into my sewing plans.  I wouldn't have finished today had I not said that I would show you all on my post yesterday - it would have been put firmly at the back of the cupboard but - on the positive side it is complete now.
Whilst having a coffee early this morning I was checking emails and wandered (?) into Pinterest to see what other pictures I could see.  There were literally hundreds of ideas of how to upcycle shirts, some of them inspiring.  I found these lovely cushions on Country Living and think they are really sweet - using up favourite shirts which have out of favour would help make them even more special - maybe a youngster going away to university or moving into their first home.  Dear, dear I am so sentimental.
I also found this lovely picture from Pinterest (Etsy site) - I did have a look so that I could show you but it said that the Etsy shop didn't exist any more.  The apron is really cute, would be a good one for the males of the family.
One of the things I did like on the apron I sewed was the neckband which was fully versatile in that you could move the buttons up and down depending on the wearer - so simple but such a good design feature.
I wanted to line the bottom of the apron with the blue fabric but made the mistake of sewing it up in dark blue thread, goodness knows why.  I think I wanted to make it look a bit different but Rachel my sewing teacher always tells me to use a neutral thread until I get more confident with my sewing skills.  Do I ever listen?
The picture below is just peeking into one of the three pockets.
I made the strap from one of the sleeves, there is so much fabric in a large shirt - unbelievable.
I put a couple of spoons in to show you how the pockets work - there are three of them and they are quite roomy.
Now, finally, here it is............................
Now lovely Folks, I had intended to put a badge on the apron with my daughter-in-law's name and the title Master Cook - she is the most talented cook and baker I have ever known and I think she deserves the title.  However, I don't feel that the apron is good enough to give to her so have left the title off. My husband disagrees and says that he thinks she would like it - would appreciate your opinion Folks.  Not my best make at all but I have had a little talk to myself about planning stuff more effectively rather than rushing ahead.
I have one more day off work tomorrow so am going to try and get out and about if I can - life passes so quickly when  you are crafting Folks don't you think!  I hope you are all well and happy and are enjoying yourselves wherever you are in our special world.  Take care and I will see you all soon, please leave a comment it you wish and don't forget the two giveaways.  Lots of loves and hugs to you all.  Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Amazing shirts!

Hello all you lovelies.  I hope that you are all enjoying your Easter festivities.  My wonderful husband and I were due to go out but he is under the weather today so  I have had to amuse myself.  I promise that I have only resorted to one piece of chocolate - what about you?  I am a real chocoholic so could devour an Easter egg in a matter of minutes.  What about you?  It is really cold and grey here today so a big change from yesterday unfortunately.  I hope you are all enjoying sunnier and warmer weather than we are. 
I hate wasting a day particularly when I was expecting to go out so I set to on the shirts I bought yesterday.  I am in the middle of making the apron as we speak but the thing that really struck me was how much fabric goes into a shirt - admittedly it is a very large shirt!  This is the blue one cut into pieces - I am going to see what I can make from all of it.  Have you any ideas folks?
I have cut out the bib and am going to make the skirt of the apron out of the pink striped shirt which I love.  More on the apron in another post.
I am really trying to crack zips Folks and I find that some of mine are ok, others not which means that I never feel that my bags can be given as gifts as I can see the flaws.  I know that many people would not even notice but I do and it is really getting to me that I still haven't gotten to grips with them yet.  I have found another tutorial on Youtube which I am going to have another look at and see if that system would be better for me because the one I am using is not.  Anyway, I had started a new bag which was going to be part of a birthday gift and was looking to line it with some fabric.  Seeing all the lovely blue fabric from the shirt made me think about using it to line this bag. 
I am using up the CK tea towel which I used last week.  The Lovely Jo suggested another tea cosy and I was really considering her idea but didn't have anyone to make one for so changed me mind, but thank you Jo for a fab idea.  I am also using a lovely applique pattern from Bustle and Sew which I love - hope you like it.  The calico is the lining from an old shopping bag my Mum gave me.  The outer part had fallen to bits to I managed to salvage part of the inner bag.  Also the applique is made up from all the scraps I am collecting in my box.  Because of my love of some uniformity I used up the scraps from the CK teatowel to make up a flower and some hearts to go inside the lining.  I hope you like it.  The shirt lining was a dream to work with.
If you have not seen any of Bustle and Sew's patterns please have a look, I love them.
I was able to use practically every scrap of the tea towel so felt very pleased with myself.  Rachel, my lovely sewing teacher is the master (or should I say mistress) of sewing economy and her excellent practices are rubbing off on me too, hopefully.
And here is the finished product, although I am not happy with the zip.  I was thinking about how many of these bags I have sewn and I must get those I still have together and take a photograph.  Heavens above you would think that putting in a zip would have clicked by now - not me though, everything seems to take an age to sink in.  I am ok with the long straight pieces but it is the ends where I become stuck - I think I have too much fabric bunching up a the ends so need to find a solution soon Folks or the world is going to be taken over by my bags..........not a pretty sight.
I did love the feel of the shirt fabric - maybe they are going to overtake my tea towel obsession :-) 
I did try to cut out a few little flowers from the lining and stitch them onto the front of the bag - I wasn't as happy about these but they are on now.  If you look at the sides of the zip top you can see that they do not lie as flat as they should.

I did enjoy doing the applique though - I am so fond of doing this but have to watch that I do not go OTT with it.

Well Lovely Friends that is it for now.  I am going to try and crack on with the apron.  My hubby is fast asleep bless him and I am hoping that he is feeling better tomorrow and we can go out.  Enjoy your evening/day depending on where you all are.  I hope that you are safe and happy.  Big hugs and loves as always from me and thank you for stopping by.  Please don't forget to leave a comment if you have time as I love to hear from all of you.  You make my day.  Dorothy:-)xxxxxxxxxxx